Special Collections News & Updates 6/3/2016

Snapchat iconsNewsfeed: A look back at the “Meet the Manuscript” workshop: http://blog.lib.uiowa.edu/speccoll/2016/06/03/meet-the-manuscript/ Riverside Theater will return to City Park for Pericles June 17-July 10: http://www.riversidetheatre.org/returningtothepark Salisbury House in Des Moines presents King […]

Meet the Manuscript

Manuscript writingBy Heather Wacha 28 beaver fur hats. 6 panels of tapestries. Wool from Flanders. Silks, cloths and linens. Furniture, paintings, and sculptures. Gold and Silver. All manner of carriages.   […]

Database of the Week: Global Financial Data (GFD)


Each week we will highlight one of the many databases we have here at the Pomerantz Business Library.

The database: Global Financial Data (GFD)

Global Financial Data is a collection of current and historical financial and economic data for over 200 countries, provided in ASCII or Excel format.

Where to find it:  You can find it here, and under “G” on Databases A to Z page. Note: Users must authenticate with their HawkID and then log in to GFD.

 Global Financial Data home screen


Use it to find: 

  • Time series data on a range of financial topics including US stocks, commodities, interest rates, exchange rates, international trade, etc.
  • Data on social and governmental indicators such as health, income distribution, infrastructure, energy, etc.
  • International data sources include Eurostat and the World Bank.


Tips for searching:

  • The options for searching GFD are found on the left side of the screen (see image above).
  • GFD Keyword Search allows for searching based on name (company, country, etc.), symbol, CUSIP, SIC, or NAICS.
  • Hover over the title of a given data set to get a detailed description.
  • GFD Filter Search allows users to narrow their search parameters before initiating a search. Parameters that can be adjusted include country, region, time period, data source, etc.

To browse data series available on particular subjects, users can set several parameters, for example country (Bulgaria) and series type (Exports and Imports), and leave the search box empty. This will generate a list of data sources that meet both parameters.  Select “GFDatabase + Eurostat” option to get the broadest list of available data.

GFD Search Results

Downloading Data:

  • The GFD AutoTrac feature allows users to gather data series and related settings into Workbooks (see image).
  • Once the desired series have been added to a Workbook, users can download the Workbook contents onto their computers.
  • The Workbook contents can then be saved within GFD for use at a later time. This makes it easier to obtain updated figures in the future.
  • Settings that can be tailored by the user include currency, date range, American or European date format (MM/DD/YYYY or DD/MM/YYYY), etc.
  • Data can be downloaded in CSV, XLS, or XLSX formats.

GFD Workbook

This video from the vendor provides a good overview of the AutoTrac/Workbook functions.


GFD offers built-in graphing features that allow users to generate and customize visual representations of the data found within GFD.

Graphs generated in GFD can be saved to Workbooks or they can be exported in a number of formats (Bitmap, Jpeg, PNG).

GFD Graph

Want help using the Global Financial Data (GFD)?  Contact Jim or Kim to set up an appointment.





Elizabeth (Liz) Kiscaden, Associate Director, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Midwest Regional Office

Liz Kiscaden, Associate Director, NN/LM, GMR

Liz Kiscaden, Associate Director, NN/LM, GMR

As of May 1, Elizabeth (Liz) Kiscaden is the new Associate Director for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine’s (NN/LM) regional office, located at Hardin Library for the Health Sciences. This office serves the Greater Midwestern Region (GMR), comprising of a ten-state area surrounding Iowa.

In her new role, Liz will be responsible for operations and staffing and will collaborate on strategic planning for the new program office. She will be located at the GMR office on the second floor of Hardin Library, for which construction is still underway.

During her time at the University of Iowa, Liz served as the Head of Hardin Library Services and served temporarily as a Clinical Education Librarian. Prior to joining the University of Iowa, she was employed as the Library Director at Waldorf College, Forest City, Iowa and solo hospital librarian at Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa. Liz’s professional experience has centered primarily on library administration and biomedical information instruction for health professionals.

Liz enjoys living in Iowa City and taking advantage of events and activities offered through the University of Iowa. In her free time, she takes her dog cruising, enjoys the outdoors and watches old martial arts movies with friends.

New Acquisition: Global Financial Data

Global Financial Data LogoThe Business Library has acquired Global Financial Data (GFD). Global Financial Data is a collection of current and historical financial and economic data provided in ASCII or Excel format. Data includes: long-term indices on stock markets; Total Return data on stocks, bonds, and bills; interest rates; exchange rates; inflation rates; bond indices; commodity indices and prices; consumer price indices; gross domestic product; individual stocks; sector indices; treasury bill yields; wholesale price indices; unemployment rates; and real estate data covering over 200 countries.

The link to Global Financial Data is available on the Business Library A-Z list.  HawkID authentication required to access the site. Users must also create an account.

If you have questions, please contact a Business Library Staff member.


20th Anniversary of Twister!!

May 10, 1996
Twister© was released.

Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton in Twister, released in 1996.

The movie Twister,© which was filmed in and around Ames, Iowa, was nominated for 2 Oscars, 13 other awards and won a total of 10 awards. “Bill and Jo Harding, advanced storm chasers on the brink of divorce, must join together to create an advanced weather alert system by putting themselves in the cross-hairs of extremely violent tornadoes.” (Plot summary, IMDB.com).


TOTO before and after deployment. Storm Prediction Center NOAA. NSSL photos.

Their team of storm chasers, competing against a better-funded team, are trying to create a device meant to be released into a tornado. The plot is a dramatized view of research projects like Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes (VORTEX) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The device used in the movie, named “Dorothy,” is copied from “TOTO” (TOtable Tornado Observatory)- the real device used in the 1980s by the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL). Dorothy (i.e. TOTO) was an instrument designed to be placed in the path of a tornado, and then sucked up into the tornado. When TOTO was sucked into the tornado, sensors would be released and these sensors would measure, among other things, pressure and humidity. Unfortunately, TOTO was too light and fell over when it was sideswiped by the edge of tornado. It was later deployed as a portable weather station to measure thunderstorm gust fronts and non-tornadic mesocyclones.

VORTEX was designed to answer questions about the causes of tornado formation. It documented the entire life cycle of a tornado from beginning to end, for the 1st time in history. VORTEX2 has many more instruments than the original VORTEX and is now mobile. Currently, in 2016, NSSL researchers are embarking on VORTEX Southeast. With this research, scientists seek to understand the environmental forces in the southeastern United States – studying the intensity, structure, and path of tornadoes in the region.

Storm Chasers in South Dakota.

A twister snakes toward storm chasers in South Dakota. Photography by Carsten Peter, National Geographic Creative.

What does it take to be a storm chaser?  Anyone can become a storm chaser – there are no procedures, certifications or permits required unless you want to become a SKYWARN® spotter.

SKYWARN® is a National Weather Service (NWS) volunteer program with between 350,000 and 400,000 trained severe weather spotters. The main responsibility of a SKYWARN® spotter is to identify and describe severe local weather and storms. They are different than chasers, usually staying in one place to observe, until it is necessary for them to move. Their training includes learning about basic severe weather structure and development, how to report, and basic severe weather safety. If you are interested in becoming a SKYWARN® volunteer, training is free and typically lasts about 2 hours. Check here for information and find the closest SKYWARN® program in Iowa!

Tornado Alley is a nickname given to an area in the southern plains of the central United States that consistently experiences a high frequency of tornadoes each year.

Tornado Alley is a nickname given to an area in the southern plains of the central United State.

Storm chasing is an expensive as a hobby – mainly because it involves a lot of travel.  The term “chaser” refers to the careful forecasting and tracking of storms and then going to those storms to make observations. Many chasers have to drive or fly to “tornado alley,” stay in hotels, and can drive over 500 miles in a single chase day, all of those expenses add up to be pretty costly

If you do decide you want to venture out on your own to watch a storm, you must be very careful – not only because of the storm, but also because of the other chasers in the vicinity. Often amateur storm chasers will park in the middle of a road to watch and photograph the approaching storm. Parking in the middle of the road makes it nearly impossible for vehicles to leave the potential danger zone and they are often in the way of the trained and seasoned storm chasers. In some locations it has been reported that as many as 100 amateur storm chasers may all converge in an area where the chance for tornadoes is high.

Storm chasing is dangerous – even for the seasoned chasers. In May, 2013, 3 chasers and 1 civilian were killed by tornadoes near El Reno, OK. Local resident, Richard Henderson, was killed when he decided to follow that storm. Tim Samaras (a chaser and a meteorologist), his son Paul Samaras, and Carl Young were experienced, seasoned chasers and considered to be the safest storm chasers at the time. Tim founded and headed the Tactical Weather-Instrumental Sampling in/near Tornadoes EXperiment (TWISTEX).  The TWISTEX vehicle in which the three were chasing was struck by a violent wedge tornado with winds up to 295 mph.

If you are intrigued by the idea, but don’t feel up to chasing on your own, you can actually be a “tornado tourist.” A 10-day, professional storm chasing tour (sometimes called “tornado safaris”), typically costs between $2000 and $3000. That includes lodging and fuel costs…

For a fascinating look at the personal stories and experiences of a storm chaser, check out Out of the blue : a history of science, superstition, and amazing stories of survival by John s. Friedman.

For more information about tornadoes and severe weather, check our blog, “Stormy Weather,” from April 29, 2016.

Interesting Twister©  facts:

Twister© is the 1st Hollywood feature film to be released on DVD and one of the last to be released on HD DVD. It has since been released on Blu-ray.

Both Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt were temporarily blinded by bright electronic lamps used to get the exposure right for the dark, stormy sky. They also both had to have hepatitis shots after filming in an unsanitary ditch.

If you live in the tornado alley and are up for some excitement – you just might want to watch Twister©Even if you don’t live in tornado alley, you should get some popcorn and watch, and learn about storm chasing!


Twister (1996 film). Produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment.

Horvitz, Leslie Alan. 2007. The essential book of weather lore : time-tested weather wisdom and why the weatherman isn’t always right. Pleasantville, NY : Reader’s Digest Association. Engineering Library QC995.4 .H665 2007

Mogil, H. Michael. 2007.  Extreme weather : understanding the science of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, heat waves, snow storms, global warming and other atmospheric disturbances. New York, NY : Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers : Distributed by Workman Pub. Co. Engineering Library QC981 .M65 2007

Svenvold, Mark. 2005. Big weather: Chasing tornadoes in the heart of America. New York : Henry Holt. Engineering Library QC955.5  U6 S75 2005

The TOTO Home Page. Storm Prediction Center. Date Accessed May 9, 2016.

Weather Library > Storm Chasing: Frequently Asked Questions. Dan Robinson, Storm  Chaser/Photographer. stormhighway.com

What is VORTEX2: Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment. VORTEX@NSSL. Date Accessed May 4, 2016

National Weather Service SKYWARN™ February 29, 2016. NOAA National Weather Service.

Storm Chaser Tim Samaras: One Year After His Death, His Gift is Unmatched. By Robert Draper, for National Geographic. May 27, 2014. National Geographic.

TWIRL – Tornadic Winds : In situ and Radar observation at Low levels. 2016. Center for Severe Weather Research.

Tornado Alley. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Date accessed, May 9, 2016

NSSL The National Severe Storms Laboratory.

Other Resources:

The Online Tornado FAQ. Storm Prediction Center. Date Accessed May 9, 2016

Storm Chasers Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras and Carl Young Killed in Oklahoma Tornadoes. June 2, 2013, by Leezel Tanglao. ABC News 

Tornado Chaser Tim Samaras Killed: Fans Pay Tribute. June 3, 2013, By Melody Kramer. National Geographic.

Study in the UI Libraries for finals

Blue room homepage featureHit your study stride for finals in the UI Libraries

The UI Libraries offers great places to concentrate on final exam prep, with extended hours, free coffee, and activities for short study breaks.

Studies indicate that students who take short, fairly frequent breaks during their study time are more productive. Give your brain a break by taking a walk or doing a mind-clearing activity to make your study time more productive.

In the Main Library Learning Commons, students can take advantage of activity stations featuring puzzles, colored pencils, and postcard making.

Get the complete list of all UI Libraries’ hours during finals.